A/N: Hi. So this isn't exactly realistic but I liked the idea so here it is. Takes place, obvious, after this past episode.
Tagline: Sometimes it takes someone special to make the nightmares go away
She sat at her desk, her head propped up against a hand, her eyes glazed with nostalgia. Jethro Gibbs couldn't help but take notice. She had experienced unimaginable things in that camp over those three months. He had no idea what they had done to her but whatever it was, it broke her. She wasn't the same.
"Ziva," Gibbs walked over towards her desk and placed a hand on her shoulder, rattling her awake from whatever memory she had fallen back into, "Ziva. You alright?"
"Yeah," she nodded, shaking the sleep from her voice, "Fine. Nothing to worry about."
"I am worried. Have you even slept at all since you've been home?"
Ziva looked down at the file upon her desk. She could barely meet Gibbs' eyes – something she wasn't quite used to not being able to do. She had always been tough – tough enough to match Gibbs, but not today. He looked at her as if seeing through her shaking, scarred body. That terrified her.
"N-no," she answered honestly, "I can't. Each time I close my eyes, I think I am there again. It's illogical and immature but it's like a nightmare I have to relive every second of every day."
"It's not illogical," Gibbs shook his head, "You went through a lot and it may take time to heal. DiNozzo!"
Tony shot up from his desk, his head perking up like a chicken's. McGee found the scene rather amusing. Ever since Ziva had gotten back, Tony had quietly waited in the shadows for something to do. It was like he needed to do something to help her, despite the fact it was him that rescued her. Saving her life just wasn't enough for him.
"DiNozzo, take Ziva to her apartment and help her get some of her things in order then take her to your place. She's going to be staying there with you for a while."
"What?" Ziva demanded, her voice clipped with an iced anger, "I am NOT staying with Tony. I do not need a babysitter, Gibbs. I can take perfectly good care of myself, you know. I have been doing it most of my life."
"Ziva," Gibbs' voice was calm but demanding, authoritative, "You need to be with someone. You and DiNozzo haven't even spoken since we got home and I think it will go everyone some good. Besides, having someone there will make you feel safer. Hopefully you can get some sleep. Now go, McGee and I can hold down the fort."
"Great," McGee muttered under his breath.
Ziva looked towards Gibbs with pleading eyes but knew there was nothing she could do. It did make sense to be with Tony. Having someone to stay with would be a comfort. Her apartment was cold and the stench of murder clung in the air. All because of Tony.
She glared at him as if this whole thing were his fault.
"So, roomie, ready to hit the road?" He asked, trying to get a smile out of her.
"Okay, DiNozzo, let's go over some ground rules. If I am going to be staying with you, you are going to sleep on the floor or the couch, I don't care which. I get the bed though. Also, I am still angry with you and am going to try to get through these next few days without pulling my gun on you. If you so much as interfere with my daily order of things, I will be tempted to shoot you. if you so much as get within five feet of me…"
"You will be tempted to shoot me," Tony rolled his eyes, "I get it. Let's just view this as any other job Gibbs would have us do. Remember our cover jobs?"
"I am not going to pretend to be your fiancé again, Tony."
"I'm not asking you to. I am only saying that this is a job and this is something we have to do. Might as well be as civil as we can, right?"
"I will be civil when I am ready to be civil," Ziva grabbed her bag from under the desk and followed Tony to the elevators.
"So," Tony punched the number on the elevator wall, "What do you…"
"You're talking to me."
"Rule number five of us living together: do not speak to me unless I have asked you to."
"Oookay," Tony backed off. She had been through a lot, he shouldn't push her – even he knew that. But something just bothered him. When she got back, McGee, Abby, and even Gibbs had given her a hug and told her how much she meant to them. He hadn't gotten to say anything.
He was starting to miss the truth serum – at least when talking to Sallem (A/N: I don't know how to spell his name so could someone please tell me in a review. It'd really help because he's going to be mentioned a lot.), he could get things off his chest, rather he wanted to or not.
Ziva slid the key in the lock and made her way inside. Tony followed her, taking a look around the apartment. It was still a mess – broken glass, books, plants tossed on the floor. Of course forensics cleaned up a lot but Ziva hadn't even bothered to put any of her own personal items back in place.
Tony walked over to one of the plants and pulled it back up in its place. He continued to walk through the apartment, until meeting up with her in the bedroom. She was digging through her closet, pulling clothes out and placing them neatly in a suitcase.
He couldn't stand this. Sure, Ziva was a handful but he really, really missed her. It had been months that he had gone without pushing her buttons and he couldn't stand not speaking with her. He hadn't gotten to tell her that he missed her, that his life would be shit without her, and that he wasn't lying when he said he couldn't live without her.
Of course if he said any of that now, it would definitely mean a gun to his throat again. That reminded him: Why hadn't Gibbs confiscated her damn gun before sending her to live with him?
"Can you grab some towels from that closet please?" Ziva asked, nodding towards the closet across from the bed.
"Afraid to use my towels?"
"Who knows what kind of diseases you have. I have had vaccines for rabies and tetanus but I haven't been vaccinated for whatever it is you have."
"That's real mature, Ziva," Tony rolled his eyes but found himself digging towels from the closet.
"I think that's about everything," she began to zip up her suitcase, "Now do you have anything that constitutes food at your place or am I expected to provide my own nourishment?"
"Uh…" Tony blanked. He didn't really have anything. Sure there was beer and frozen pizza but something told him Ziva David wasn't a beer and pizza kind of girl, "I have take out numbers."
"That will be fine. And this is only going to be a few days, Tony. I don't want you to get used to me living with you. It's very temporary and I don't expect to be babysat. I can take care of myself and I don't want to be patronized, understand?"
"Wouldn't even think of it," Tony grinned, reaching to take her luggage. She quickly slapped his hand away – hard! "Ow!"
"I told you don't patronize me. I can carry my bags just as well as I could before…" she didn't bother finishing her sentence.
"It isn't patronizing, it's being a gentleman. Besides, I would have offered before this summer."
"You would not have," Ziva argued, grabbing her bag and hauling it towards the door.
"Alright, so maybe I wouldn't have but I – we – almost lost you and I think we all need to stop taking you for granted."
Ziva stared at him as if trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle. Tony DiNozzo confused her more than any other guy she had ever known. Rolling her eyes, she hauled her suitcase to the door.
The ride to Tony's apartment was completely silent. Ziva busied herself by glaring daggers out the windshield. She couldn't believe Gibbs was making her stay with Tony. Why couldn't she have stayed with McGee or Abby? Heck, she'd rather stay with Duckie than with Tony! But like he had said, it was just another job. They might not like it but it was something they'd both have to tolerate.
Tony clenched the wheel in his fists and allowed himself, for a second, to pretend it was Ziva's neck. This week was already tough enough without her driving him crazy. Sure, she drove him crazy all the time but mad-crazy was different than usual-crazy. Mad-crazy was something Tony hated more than anything.
The car pulled into the apartment complex parking lot and they both hopped out. Ziva pulled her suitcase from the backseat and followed Tony towards the elevators.
"Can I speak?"
"Fine," Ziva spat out the word as if it were a foul taste in her mouth.
"The place is a bit of a mess…"
"Of course it is, it's yours. I highly doubted I was going to see polished marble tile and spotless counters."
"I can clean it up if you want…"
"Don't," Ziva held up a hand, "Tony, do me a favor and pretend I am not even there, okay? I don't want to make a fuss."
"Too late," Tony mumbled as he swung the door open for her.